SAUGUS — After one school year as the athletic director at Saugus High School in 2017-2018, James Bunnell is stepping down to accept the same position at Lunenburg High.
“I’m very excited,” Bunnell said. “It’s a great opportunity. I wasn’t planning on leaving Saugus. It’s one of those things where it’s closer to home. I applied to Lunenburg before I came to Saugus last year. They were re-working the contract. They said the athletic director would be retiring within a year or two. When I found out the athletic director did indeed retire I threw my name in. Thankfully they liked me enough to offer the position and I accepted it.”
Bunnell arrived in Saugus after serving as the athletic director at North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend. A native of Leominster, Bunnell attended St. Bernard’s High School in Fitchburg. He continued his studies at Fitchburg State.
Bunnell, who still resides in Leominster, made a lengthy commute to and from Saugus each day.
“The drive to Saugus in the morning was anywhere from one hour and 15 minutes to one hour and 30 minutes,” Bunnell said. “The commute back home was anywhere from one hour to one hour and 15 minutes.”
He spoke highly of his year at Saugus High. One of the school’s main athletic highlights last year was the Saugus boys soccer team, which qualified for the Division 3 North state tournament just one year removed from a winless season in 2016.
“I thought things went really well,” Bunnell said. “I really enjoyed the students. The coaching staff was great. The students were great to work with. I met a lot of great people there. The teams were successful in and outside of the classroom. It’s incredible to be a part of something like that.
“I’m very grateful for the time I spent in Saugus and the people I met,” Bunnell said. “I wish them the best of luck and they’ll be very successful in the future.”
His tenure at Saugus officially ends Friday and Bunnell begins his new role at Lunenburg next Monday. He said he’s bounced back and forth for the past few weeks wrapping things up at Saugus and getting the ball rolling at Lunenburg.
Bunnell said he’s looking forward to beginning a new chapter as the athletic director at Lunenburg, where the school’s athletic programs have seen recent success.
“They’ve been very successful as of late,” Bunnell said. “They just built a brand new middle-high school two years ago. They just opened a brand new athletic facility. The boys hockey team won the Division 3A state title last year. They have a female golfer who won states. Overall the athletic program is doing very well here.”